A sighting of an Asian hornet, which poses a risk to native bee populations, has been confirmed in North Devon.

An Asian hornet has been sighted at an apiary near Woolacombe.

The National Bee Unit confirmed the sighting of the Asian hornet, which is smaller than our native hornet and poses a risk to native honey bees.

This is the first confirmed sighting in the UK since last year, when a nest was discovered in Gloucestershire.

The Asian hornet poses no great risk to humans than a bee.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway.

This includes setting up a surveillance zone around North Devon, coordinating the response and deploying bee inspectors.

Nicola Spence, Defra deputy director for plant and bee health, said: "While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies.

"That's why we are taking swift and robust action to locate and destroy any nests in the Devon area following this confirmed sighting.

"Following the successful containment of the Asian hornet incursion in Gloucestershire last year, we have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

"We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.

"A local control centre will be opened this week in North Devon and bee inspectors from APHA National Bee Unit will be carrying out surveillance and monitoring initially in a 1-2 km radius around the initial sighting.

"They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests."

Anyone who believes they have found a nest should not go near it and report it using the Asian Hornet Watch app which is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.

The hornet found near Woolacombe is currently undergoing DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

Members of the public can also report sightings by email to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk with a photo or on the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat website.